Monday, September 30, 2013

Re-Member Devotions: Week 2, Day 1

Re-Member: “Growing” (September 30 – October 6)

Day One:

We expect growth. We expect growth in the economy. We expect growth when we plant a garden. We expect growth physically. We also should expect spiritual growth.

Stagnation and decline / death are the alternatives to growth. Therefore, we expect growth. I am so grateful for the imagery of the body that scriptures use to help us better understand this thing called the church. The body needs every member to grow...otherwise, stagnation and decline shows sickness, disease, and the whole body struggles. As members of the body of Christ, we seek continual growth individually. As each of us seek spiritual growth, the whole body is healthier!

In addition, when we seek to give to others for their benefit, the body thrives in health and vitality!

This week, meditate on and memorize I Corinthians 12:7:

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

We are not only given the Holy Spirit for our own growth, but for the common good. Seek the Spirit, yield to the Spirit, expect growth. In turn, seek to encourage and build up others with the growth you experience for the common good.
 - Pastor David

Friday, September 27, 2013

Re-Member Devotions: Week 1, Day 3

Day Three: Membership Mark #1- Transformed Life

Read: I Corinthians 5:1-13


1)     In these 13 verses, Paul lays out clearly that people who claim to be “members” of the body yet do not live transformed lives are, in fact, not members at all. What are the specific words Paul uses to describe these people? What specific habitual sins does he mention?

2)     What does Paul say about “outsiders”? What does he say about “insiders”? Someone may say that Paul is giving loving advice to the church and the “insider” who is living in sin. How can this be?

3)     In light of this, how should we reflect transformed lives in Christ as members of the local church?

To Memorize:

“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.  For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

I Peter 1:14-16 (NLT)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Personal Examination

I hate having to go to my family doctor! I know, I know, I’m weird. Seriously though, how does this process benefit me? The doctor comes into the examination room, asks for my symptoms, and then prescribes some medication that will hopefully solve my problem. Oh, and don’t forget the, “if you don’t feel better in 10 days, come back and see me” comment. “Yeah, I’ll be sure to do that, thanks.  And, oh yeah, here’s your $75.” 

God is different though, right? We sit, we listen, we reflect, and we grow. These times can come in various forms...through reading the Word, through accountability, or through tools such as our Spiritual Life Inventory. This week, we all have the opportunity for growth through personal examination. How? By using our Spiritual Life Inventory tool provided at the link below. Why take this short survey? As I mentioned, it should be treated as a time of self-reflection. We can take a good look at who we are and who God might intend for us to be. The philosopher, Socrates stated, “Know thyself”. It could be suggested that this inventory allows for us to know ourselves through thoughtful communication with God. So please take a few minutes to complete this anonymous survey. I trust that it will benefit you much more than a visit to your family doctor does. You may either fill out a paper version (available at the church), or the online version. All surveys are due by the end of the day on Sunday, September 29th. Thank you and may God bless you.

Chuck Pickering,
Elder of Spiritual Life 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Re-Member Devotions: Week 1, Day 2

Day Two: Membership Mark #1- Transformed Life

Read: Psalm 51:10-13; II Corinthians 5:17; I John 5:11-12


1)   Psalm 51 is a record of King David confessing, repenting, and asking forgiveness. Have you prayed this prayer? If you have not, do so now. If you have, read through this psalm again devotionally as an affirmation of the God’s grace and forgiveness and your holiness before as a result.

2)   Describe briefly the transformation you experienced in Christ when you started following Him:

3)   T / F           Life is only through Jesus

T / F           This is the Testimony: You must be a member of a local church to go to Heaven.

T / F           If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation!

To Memorize:

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

I John 5:11-12 (ESV)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Re-Member Devotions: Week 1, Day 1

Re-Member: “Transformed” (September 23 – September 29)

Day One:

“Membership has its privileges!” So the old commercial goes which tries to convince us to join an “exclusive” club of credit card holders. The air of superiority and respect abounds with such membership. It is not only with certain association with particular financial institutions, but also with clubs, organizations, cars we drive, neighborhoods we live in, and stores where we shop. 

All of this changes when we consider what it means to be a member of the body of Christ. When we “join” this group / movement / organization, it is not about the privileges, but about the leader. Everywhere else it seems to focus on the privileges I enjoy as a member. In the church, it is not about the followers, but about the Leader, Jesus Christ.

Interestingly enough, being a follower of Christ is the privilege. Furthermore, being a follower of Christ makes you an automatic member of the body. This is known as the “invisible church”. The Church is made up of every Jesus follower throughout the world and throughout time. Orange Friends Church is a local expression of the “visible church”. 

Although those of us who follow Christ are members of the body of Christ, not everyone is a member of the local church at Orange Friends. Does formal membership in the local “visible” church have privileges? Well, yes, in the sense that being an active follower of Jesus through an engaged community is a privilege (and a responsibility). There are no Lone Rangers in Christianity. We are called to be part of a local community of believers. This belonging is not for the privileges it carries, but for the responsibilities that it calls us into. 

This week, meditate on and memorize I Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your spirit about the meaning of being in community through membership in His universal invisible Church and His local visible expression through Orange Friends Church.

My prayer is that, at the end of this sermon series, you will be compelled to re-commit to membership in the body of Christ. This is a call to a renewal of the covenant with God and with your local church, Orange Friends. If you are not yet a formalized member of Orange Friends Church, I ask that you will consider making a covenant with us as we make a covenant with you towards the glory of God and the building up of His Church. 
- Pastor David

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Re-Member: Renewing Our Covenant with the Church

“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”   I Corinthians 12:27

One consistent teaching within scripture is: being a Christ-follower is not a Lone Ranger existence. We come into this transformational life in community. Nevermind any “what if?” scenarios that include desert islands or living out in the middle of nowhere by yourself. These don’t count. We live in the real world, with real people, with a real God whose idea is real community with one another. In fact, being a member of the body of Christ (the church) is a privilege. This is a privilege of blessings and of struggles. A privilege of celebration and messiness. But, all of this is in the shadow of the Almighty. All of this is in active engagement of His communion and presence.

We have a rich heritage and calling to join together, both informally and formally, as one body. Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore what scripture says about being part of this thing we call “the church”. What are its privileges and responsibilities? How do we see that fleshed out right here at Orange Friends?

So, join with me as we seek to deepen our connection with God through strengthening our connection with one another!

Pastor David

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pony Express Rides Again

“The Pony Express Rides Again” soon will be the enthusiastic cry heard at Orange Friend Church. Traditionally we have not held stewardship campaigns but decided this year to do one as an offshoot of our new Vision Fund. As you are aware, the goal of the Vision Fund is to raise $75,000 to fund repairs to the parking lot, carpeting, furnaces, and improvements in the Children’s area.

The Pony Express “RUN” is styled after the famous mail delivery system of more than a century ago. It relies heavily on the team work of you, our congregation, to deliver the mail to fellow congregation members. Our hope is to also promote fellowship. Another goal is to aid our Finance Committee in setting our budget for our 2014 General Fund, projects under the Vision Fund, and to forward our Faith Promise missions commitment to Yearly Meeting.

Kay Cermak, Chairman of the Stewardship Committee, will serve as General Manager of the campaign, providing guidance to the Trail Bosses and other key workers. Each Trail Boss will oversee a neighborhood Pony Express Route composed of seven or eight families. Your family will be asked to do your part, by using the Saddlebag and then relaying it quickly to the next family on the Route List.

Your Saddlebag will contain information about our 2014 financial goals, the Route List of all the families on your route, the name of your Trail Boss, and your 2014 Pledge Card. After prayerful consideration, please fill in your Pledge Card, keep the tear-off reminder, seal the 2014 Pledge Card in an enclosed Envelope, and insert the Envelope in the Saddlebag. Finally, please call another family on your route and arrange to deliver the Bag to the next waiting family.  Your Trail Boss will keep tabs on the Saddlebag so that it continues to move quickly.

You will be able to make your decision about giving to Orange Friends Church in the privacy of your home without another member of the church present to solicit your response. You will also be able to meet others from Orange Friends as you gallop around the neighborhood.

The Pony Express will be introduced at our church service on September 29.  The program will conclude in our church service on October 27, when we announce the results of our pledge campaign.

Please begin praying for God’s guidance as you prepare to renew your stewardship commitment for the year ahead.

Thank you and blessings,

Your Stewardship Team
Kay Cermak, Ron Clark, Cody DeWeerd, Don Sampson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's My Story...Ron Clark

Ron Clark has been attending Orange Friends Church for just over 5 years, and writes:

I am thankful to find such a wonderful church and church family. I have been very blessed by so many wonderful people and have been able to build numerous strong relationships. There are so many in this church that have positively influenced me and have helped to build my faith and my overall relationship with Christ.

Serving on various committees, being able to play volleyball, and being active in various small groups has blessed me tremendously. It has been a special blessing to be able to build relationships with those from our church who come down to C.R.A.C.K. House Ministries to serve the people of the Linden neighborhoods here in Columbus.

In recent months I have especially felt the love of this church. I recently heard a pastor say "if you're going through something right now, that is just God beefing up your testimony". I very much appreciate all of you who have walked alongside of me while God has been "beefing up my testimony". I am blessed that God has sent me to this church and poured out so many blessings, through you, into my life.

Ron Clark